Council OKs temple, shrine construction

Project to be done in four phases

Ashley Reimers
The Lao Buddhist community in Westminster will soon be starting the re-build of the temple that burned down in 2011. Currently the property still features artwork like the piece in the photo and gatherings have been taking place in large outdoor tents.
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After a devastating fire destroyed their former temple, members of the Lao Buddhist community in Westminster can begin construction on a new temple, one bigger and more beautiful than before.

The journey to rebuild begins after the unanimous approval by city council of the Lao Buddhist Temple Preliminary Development Plan and the Official Development Plan during the June 23 council meeting. Approval of both is needed before construction can commence.

The approved ODP allows for two buildings, a temple and a shrine building, both located at 10685 Dover St. The 4.22-acre site will also have improvements to landscaping, parking and right-of-way access and will also feature public art. The smaller shrine building will be used by the monks and the larger temple building will have the capacity to house 300-500 people.

Lead designer on the project Emmy Thammasine said the temple will have a three-tiered roof with a traditional Southeast Asian curve. He said because the building will be highly visible to the community, the project team is dedicated to creating a beautiful temple, one that will reflect the beauty of their Lao Buddhist culture. The project team is also excited to remain in the Westminster community.

“We decided the temple would stay in the city of Westminster and the reason is simple, why go anywhere else,” Thammasine said. “It’s a beautiful piece of land with mountain views. And best of all we’ve had a relationship with Westminster for 30 years and we want to keep it alive by rebuilding here.”

Members of city council are also pleased the temple is remaining in Westminster. Councilors Alberto Garcia, Emma Pinter, Faith Winter, Anita Seitz and Bob Briggs, and Mayor Herb Atchison all made comments during the meeting about their excitement surrounding the construction of the new temple. Winter thanked the Lao community for choosing Westminster and said she is proud to support their effort to rebuild. Pinter made a similar comment.

“I feel we are honored to have you in our community,” Pinter said. “The qualities you represent are the very things we are trying to encourage in our city, so thank you very much.”

Construction is set to begin as soon as possible on the temple and shrine building and will be done in four phases. For more information on the project, visit http://watlaodenver.net.